Monthly Archives: July 2014

Guest Post – DIY Photography Tent

Well, today seems like as good a day as any to post this lovely guest piece from Fiona – who co-hosts #CraftBlogClub with me and is hosting tonight’s chat about photography – which runs in line with this great post about a cheap and easy way to get great photos for your blog! Thanks Fiona!

Hi!, I’m Fiona from fizzi~jayne makes…. and I also co-host #CraftBlogClub with the lovely Emma.  Over on my blog (fizzijaynemakes.blogspot.co.uk) I have been doing a photography season with lots of hints and tips for taking great photographs.  I reviewed the book “The Crafter’s Guide to Taking Great Photos” by Heidi Adum and in this book there is a tutorial on how to make a light tent from a cardboard box.

If you have a blog or sell your products you know how important it is to have professional looking photos but not everyone can afford a professional photographer or have all the gear, so I wanted to see if this cheaper alternative does the job.

You will need:

1. ingredients1

Required

  • A Cardboard Box.  The larger the box/tent the more the light can bounce around.
  • Semi-transparent paper such as tracing paper or baking parchment
  • Stanley knife or something suitable to cut through the box
  • Sellotape and Double-Sided Tape
  • Thick white paper, I used wallpaper lining
  • Natural light bulb and lamp

What I used in addition to the instructions:

  • Cutting mat to protect your surfaces whilst cutting the box
  • White paint (I used some white emulsion left over from decorating last year)
  • Have parcel tape on hand in case you get carried away with cutting, like me!

Hopefully most of this you have stashed away or you can easily get hold of them cheaply.

The camera I used is my Digital SLR, a Canon EOS 600D. I took all the pictures on shutter speed 1/125.  ISO was on auto.

How to make it

Take your cardboard box with the opening facing you and cut out large pieces out of the top and side panels.  Leaving enough of the edges to keep the structure and keep the base and back intact.

I painted the inside of the box white, allowing light to reflect more.  Light picks up colour and could cause a colour cast on your product.

2. box cut and painted3. box with sides cut outReplace the sides and top with semi-transparent white paper, I used baking parchment. However, being waxy it didn’t stick well so I would advise using a strong double sided tape or use tracing paper instead. 4. Box covered in parchment inside

5. completed box from outside

Create a runway from the back of the box with the wallpaper lining. Make sure there is a curve at the back to create a seamless background.  I attached the paper with double-sided sticky tape.

6. completed box insidePlace tent near a light source such as a window, outside or lamp.

Place your product inside the tent so it is within the three papered walls.

7. product in box

As with all my photo shoots I took these pics in my conservatory, depending on the direction of the light and time of day I use a lamp with a natural light bulb to balance the light and remove dark areas. On this particular day I did not need additional lighting.

So does it work?

I was pleasantly surprised! I took the following pictures and the only editing I did was cropping the image.

Here is the image of one of my custom orders that was ready for its portrait before being delivered….

8. card image taken in box

And then I took a picture of my favourite mug….

9. mug in box

The lighting was particularly good when I took these pictures and I know not everyone has a conservatory and not every day is a heatwave! So I took more photos of my favourite mug in a darker room.

10. lounge shot I thought I might need my lamps for inside.  I took a photograph with the lights on….

11. mug inside with lights And without the light….

12. mug inside no lights The lights did help but some further tweaking of the brightness would be needed in post-production, however, this is what I would expect from taking pictures in my lounge.

Overall I think it did work as a light tent.  The problem I have is it won’t fold flat so I am not sure where I will be able to store it.  The box is also fragile, you may have seen the amount of parcel tape I ended up using, so I do not think it will last long but as a short term solution I am happy with the results.

If you fancy making your own light tent I would love to know how you get on and see your photos.

fizzi~jayne x

fizzijaynemakes@blogspot.co.uk

Twitter: @fizzijayne

Facebook: FizziJayneMakes

Guest Post: Getting Crafty with Duck Tape Decorating

Who knew there was so much you could do with Duck Tape?  After a recent conversation with Ruth, who works with Duck Tape Colours; stocking a fabulous array of ducktape for all your crafting needs, I just HAD to get her to guest post on here.  Here are some inventive, colourful and creative ways of using Duck Tape in your household and interior crafting, look out for some more tutorials on Frugally Peachy coming up!  Thanks Ruth for your post – it’s inspiring!

Duck Tape has been known for years as something your Dad might keep in the garage for DIY jobs, but did you know the product now comes in all sorts of colours and patterns for crafters? It’s perfect for interior design on a budget. All you need is a bit of creativity!

I’m Ruth and I work with Duck Tape and I wanted to introduce you to a couple of the fab things you can now do with it. But first of all, the products. No more plain grey for this feathered friend – Duck is now leopard print, bright green, yellow, pink, zebra print.  It’s water resistant and can be cut or torn by hand so is also great for use with the kids.

Just some of the things that the Duck Team have been creating are…

 

Picture Frames

New ImageFor this you’ll just need Duck Tape, scissors, a
 ruler
and your picture to frame. If you fancy, you could add stickers and magnetic strips.

Step 1: 
Cut 2 x long pieces of Duck Tape and lay them both sticky side up on your work surface.

New Image1Step 2: 
Take one of the strips of tape and place it sticky side down on tope of the other piece of tape, creating a Duck Tape strip. Repeat to get 2 strips the same length.

Step 3
: Make two double sides strips that are shorter in length the same way as you did in  Steps 1-2.

Step 4: 
Form the picture frame with the 4 strips by placing the shorter pieces in between the longer pieces.

Frame 3 Step 5: 
Cut 4 x 1 inch strips and use them to tape the frame together where the long and short strips meet – these are called place holders.

Step 6: 
Cut a strip of Duck Tape slightly longer than your short strip and place it directly over the shorter side of the frame, covering the place holder. Fold the extra tape onto the back.

Frame 4Step 7
: Repeat Step 6 on the opposite short side.

Frame 2

Step 8
: Flip the picture frame over. Centre your photo face down over the frame’s window. Secure the photo in place using Duck Tape. Turn the photo frame round!
You could use stickers or extra pieces of Duck Tape to decorate or add magnetic strips to the back to hang your photo on a fridge. Attach string to the back to hang your photo frame, or make a standing frame by taping a piece of cardboard onto the back.

Frame 6You could also create this fab cushion, which is so easy and cheap to do.

Cushion - to useadccb56bf1cb7a73c69c111dd08d0624b551ad0d

b144fbd3811cf72629178fcbc1abea0dc4be7a341b2b8b73f192300eafd794190bf944490eb6471c4d1bc954577c836c5d28bddde365e9e4a1d25af9Check out these images for a quick how-to and don’t forget to check out our website for all your duck tape needs – we look forward to seeing you! http://www.ducktapecolours.co.uk

 

 

 

Guest Post: The Potential of Handmade Merchandise

I’ve been an avid follower of Icy Sedgwick for quite a while now, her Friday Flash Fiction pieces are fabulous over on her blog and I was more than impressed with her latest offering, The Necromancer’s Apprentice.  Today on the blog, Icy shares her ideas on Handmade Merchandise – see she’s a pretty awesome crafter as well as writer!  Thanks Icy for appearing on Frugally Peachy and please do check out her work!

Apprentice_coverPublishing used to be much more straightforward. A publisher took on your book, and their marketing department would swing into gear, getting the word out and getting the cover in front of potential buyers. Nowadays, even getting a traditional deal with a publisher is no guarantee that it will receive much of a marketing push, unless you’re Lee Child or E. L. James, and a lot more of the onus is placed squarely on the author. It’s even more of a challenge if you sign with an independent publisher, or if you decide to go it alone and publish yourself.

I’ve got two books out, although my marketing strategy currently places the emphasis on the more recent title – The Necromancer’s Apprentice only came out in March, and while I’ve been undertaking the usual such as tweeting the occasional link (careful not to spam), conducting blog tours, writing guest posts (such as this one), and even holding a book launch in my hometown. That’s all well and good, but I can’t help thinking I can do more. So this is where my idea of merchandise comes in.

Merchandise is nothing new. In the movie Spaceballs, Yoda-like figure Yoghurt explains that merchandise “is where the real money of the movie is made”. Think of all the lunch boxes, colouring books, action figures, video games and clothing that accompany major Hollywood releases. Literature isn’t really as ‘hot’ on merchandise – books like the Harry Potter series, Twilight and Lord of the Rings only really have merchandise as a tie-in with the movies. True, there is a plethora of literature related jewellery on Etsy, but little of it is specific to titles, or designed to promote the books – they’re more to promote the wearer’s love of literature. So is there any way of making merchandise to sell a book? I’ve seen it done before, as my friend Synde Korman makes jewellery to promote Carrie Clevenger’s Crooked Fang novel, but I did start to wonder if I could make something to promote The Necromancer’s Apprentice. After all, people who find my goods on Etsy might be interested enough to then read the book, while people who read the book might decide to support it further by buying associated products.

MummiesI started off with these little guys – a pair of crocheted mummies. The mummies in the book are bloodthirsty and far from cuddly, but these two cute critters accompanied the paperbacks at the book launch in June. They’re not listed on Etsy just yet, but I’m hoping they’ll help pique interest. After all, I love to knit and crochet, so why not combine my love of crafting with my love of books?

I also decided to make a bottle pendant, using coloured resin, to tie in with the bottled enchantments that the book’s villain, the Necromancer General, keeps in her vaults.

BottlePendant

I made these anatomical engraving pendants some months ago but I’ve decided to absorb them into my Necromancer’s Apprentice range as I think they really fit the book.HeartPendant I’ve also got plans to design sigils to add to pendants as the use (or misuse) of sigils is an important part of the plot, and I’d like to crochet some more of the figures. There is a lot I can potentially make.

I think that’s also hopefully part of the appeal. These products aren’t just handmade – they’re handmade by the author of the book. I also hope that they have value outside of the book, so you don’t need to have read the book to necessarily appreciate them – they’re just a bonus if you have.

What do you guys think about the idea of handmade merchandise tailored to specific book titles? Would that be exciting if you’d read the book, or might it pique your interest if you hadn’t?

Bio

Icy Sedgwick was born in the North East of England, and lives and works in Newcastle. She spends her non-writing time working on a PhD in Film Studies, considering the use of set design in contemporary horror, as well as knitting up a storm. Icy had her first book, a pulp Western named The Guns of Retribution, published in 2011, and her horror fantasy, The Necromancer’s Apprentice, was released in March 2014.

Links

Website

Amazon

Etsy

Guest Post: Summer Berry Sorbet

When it comes to Summer recipes, there is nothing I like more than a little sorbet (or skinny ice cream, as I call it)!  So, with the lovely hot weather we have been enjoying, I thought I’d share this wonderful guest post from Jess, who writes over at Jessthetics, a recipe for Summer Berry Sorbet.  Go check out her blog, she’s a fabulous seamstress too and a real lover of all things environmentally and ethically friendly!

1 Hello! It’s Jess here, from Jessthetics. I’m so excited to be guest posting on Frugally Peachy today. I have a confession to make – I’m not that fond of ice cream. It’s okay, but it’s not my favourite treat by any means. I much prefer sorbet! The good news is that sorbet is really easy and cheap to make, and it’s (probably) healthier than ice cream! My recipe is for summer berry sorbet because I’m in love with cherries right now, but you could substitute pretty much any fruit that you fancy, or that needs using up.

2You wil need: 1 cup of blueberries, 1 cup of rasberries, 1 cup of cherries, 1/4 cup of sugar and a blender.

3First, remove the stones and stalks from your cherries, and blend all of your fruit, except for a couple of berries which will make a nice garnish later!

4Next you need to make some simple syrup. As the title suggests, it really is simple! Pop your sugar in a pan with 200ml of water and stir over a medium heat until the sugar’s dissolved. Then bring the water to the boil and turn off the heat.

5Once your simple syrup has cooled, combine it with the blended fruit and put the mixture in the freezer. It’ll take hours to freeze, so I suggest doing this in the morning ready to eat in the evening, or leaving it in the freezer overnight.

6Once your mixture has frozen, blend it together until smooth and put it back in the freezer for half an hour.

And that’s it! Scoop out your sorbet, add a couple of berries on top and gobble it up before it melts. Much more refreshing than ice cream, am I right?

7Thanks for letting me guest post on your blog Emma, and I hope you have a wonderful month of writing!

Thanks Jess…I might be a little too distracted to write with this gorgeous recipe! Thanks for sharing!

8

Guest Post: It’s Hip To Be A Granny Square

image 9Have you ever been keen on trying crochet?  It’s something I’m determined to master, but I’ve always been put off by the notion that you’re either a knitter or a crocheter.  Today on the blog, the lovely Kelly from Bibble Dibs has written a wonderful beginner’s tutorial for learning to crochet a granny square, so whilst I’m up to my eyes in research, unleashing my inner Bronte and Nazis, why not have a go using Kelly’s easy-to-use instructions!

I have been crocheting for about 3 years now, starting off with simple colourful rows of double crochet and half double crochet, but my discovery of Granny squares has led onto a more adventurous crocheting life!

Granny squares have been around for a long time and can be used to form many crocheted lovelies, including blankets.  I am currently working on one that will be big enough for a double bed (once iv finished it!) and is a colourful jumble of love.  Crocheting is my way of relaxing and taking some time out for me, recently some research has shown that Crocheting is as relaxing and calming as yoga and really helps to slow your heart rate down.

So, back to the granny squares.  This pattern is not designed by me but I will take you through the steps so that you too can create something big or small using this basic pattern

For this pattern I will be using a size 4 crochet hook and style craft yarn, which is super soft and lovely to use.

This pattern calls for the following stitches…chain stitch (ch), Slip stitch (sl st) and treble stitch (tr) and I am using US terms

What to do…I am writing this in the simplest way possible, but if you are still having trouble then I am happy to help you, you can contact me at www.facebook.com/BibbleDibs

 So, fasten your seatbelts, here we go…(good luck) image 1

Make a slip knot on your hook, this is the first thing you are required to do in any crochet pattern.  Wrap the yarn over your index and middle finger with the end of the yarn up toward your index finger

Next, put your hook under the second strand of yarn and pull through

image 2 Keep pulling the hook away from your fingers and you have slip knot, make sure it’s not too tight, so it will slide up and down the hook with ease.  And breathe…you did it!

Now, Chain 4 and join to make a ring. To do this push the hook through the ch st furthest away from your hook, pick up the yarn and pull through that ch st and through the ch on your hook, it should look like this

image 3Now, ch 3 – this counts as your first treble stitch. If you need help on the treble stitch check out www.littletinbird.co.uk for super help

image 4Next, Make 2 tr into the ring and ch 2

Now make a cluster of 3 tr and chain 2 and do this twice more, join your ch2 to the last st of the ch 3 at the start of the round with a sl st.

image 5You now should have something that looks like this…

image 6Hooray, congratulations, pretty hey? but no time for a break, now onto the second round

Ch 3, 2 tr st into the first ch space (where your chain is coming out of), ch 1 and then 3 tr st into the next ch space. Now to make the corner ch 2, 3 tr st into the same ch space. Like this…

image 7Continue around…so ch 1, 3tr st into next ch space, 2 ch, 3tr st, 1 ch, 3tr into next chain space, 2 ch, 3tr.  When you get to the first ch sp, 3tr, 2 ch and join to the top of the original ch3.

And there you go, you have done the second round…loving it yet???

image 8 Ok, onto the third round and once you have done this a few times you will be able to continue working round and round to make the square grow.

So this time, ch 3, 2tr st into the ch space, ch 1 and move to the next ch space, 3tr and ch 2, now the corner, remember this? 3tr, 2ch, 3tr, ch1, continue round until you get back to the first ch space, where you started round three make 3tr, 2ch and join to the top of the ch 3.

image 9 If you are stopping there, pull the yarn through and snip it off. Darn in the ends with a darning needle. You can find some brilliant Granny inspiration from Lucy at Attic 24 http://attic24.typepad.com/ her crochet is truly magnificent and the choice of colours are lovely…trust me, you’ll be hooked!

You have now completed three rounds and have done very well. I hope you didn’t have too many glitches along the way, if you did shout and I’ll try to help. I would love to see your makes, you can find me over at Facebook and if you pop over to www.wordpress.com/Bibbledibs i will be doing a blog about joining colours.

I really hope you found this tutorial useful, I have so enjoyed writing it. Happy hooking,

 

Hello July, Hello 30!

neo 1So, July arrived in a haze of hot days, long nights and a whole load of Nazi research.  How’s it panning out for you so far?  It isn’t long until the stretch of Summer Holidays is upon excited school children.  Then again, neither is it long before I kiss my 20s goodbye.

It is today in fact!  Hello 30…my, you’re looking rather appealing and exciting!

The last ten years seem to have gone by in quite a blur.  Well, actually, not really.  I’ve lived in three cities, had several jobs, climbed my way up the corporate fashion ladder – only to jump off at the top, in a desperate attempt to escape!  I’ve had wonderful trips abroad, made some lifelong friendships with some amazing people, had some great experiences, loved, lost and learnt all about love, in the form of having my little lady!

meanddaisyI was lucky to spend last weekend with one of my closest friends, Lucy, who came to see me from London – we had some drinks out with other friends and a good old catch up, plus a lift in a VW Transporter – which was an entirely new experience for me.  Today, I’m sticking to the usual routine of singing group followed by a Birthday lunch with my extra special Mum Mafia.  Tonight it’s all about catching up at The Gladstone and TOMORROW, I’m getting my dancing (or indeed just ability-to-stand) heels on for the Most Ugly Child EP launch, with support from one of my favourite local musicians, Ryan Thomas.  30 ain’t looking too bad at all!

Birthdays always make you reflect on the last year, or ten years.  To think, this time, 10 years ago, I was finishing off a degree in Dance, bothering the DJs at Reflex for playing enough Duran Duran for my Birthday, not sure where I was headed and I was sporting an interesting choppy hairdo that changed between blonder than blonde and browner than brown!

To be honest, I don’t know if I am where I ever thought I’d be at 30 – ‘op North’, single mama with a penchant for DIY and Elvis.  Then again do we ever know what we really want?  So, before I get all too deep and meaningful, I thought I’d share some of the things I feel really proud of, in my 30 whole years on this planet.

1. I guess it goes without saying that I’m proud of my little girl.  She’s a joy to be with everyday and the absolutely best daughter you could ask for.

2. I’m proud to be a perpetual dream chaser.  I’ve never wanted to live a linear life, I like the life I have.  I can only hope to fulfil some of my bigger ambitions in the next decade too, but I’m proud to be motivating myself to make in-roads.

IMG_20131012_220858

3. I’m proud to be strong and absolute in doing what’s right for me and my family.  There is a strength that only comes from going through hell – learning to embrace it is so important.

4. I’m proud of my ‘how hard can it be’ attitude.  Without that, I don’t think there would be a blog, a #craftblogclub, a patchwork chair or even a working relationship with a sewing machine.

5. I’m proud of my Mum, who taught me how to do everything, I can only hope to be the same level of awesome for Daisy.

6. I’m proud to have lived in London, it was bloody hard and bloody expensive.  But, after two and a half years, I miss that old place so much and I’m sorry I didn’t take care of us a little more, old girl!

7. I’m proud to be unique – it makes comparing yourself to others a LOT easier!

8. I’m proud to be a non-consumer and I’m proud of my little blog, wherever it may take me next.

9. I’m proud of my endless ability and patience to apply eyeliner every day!

10. I’m proud to have such wonderful friends and family around me, who support whatever I do – it means a lot and I’m eternally grateful to you!

OK…I’m leaving it there for today, I’m off to sing my heart out with Little D and welcome in the mystical thirties with the most yummy traybake I’ve EVER baked!  See you on the other side

thirtyStay Peachy x

 

#CraftBlogClub – ‘You Complete Me’ Challenge Reveal…

craftblogclub badgeSo, I have a little confession to make before I get into trawling your wonderful makes!  I haven’t completed my project :(.  I feel like the worst host ever, but I was inadvertently left without a table on which to use my sewing machine for nearly three weeks, which has inevitably left me very little time to complete ANYTHING I need to.  I’m behind with my sewing projects already BUT, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  Here’s my WIP so far…

The Scrappy Patchwork Chair

chair 1The purpose of ‘You Complete Me’, was to bring to light just how many WIPs us crafty lot have and really take the time to get ONE thing finished.  I blame external incidents for my unfortunate half-finished masterpiece, that and a particularly nasty delivery driver.  BUT, it has been fabulous to see so many of our #craftblogclub crew working so hard on projects they had near forgotten about, over the last few weeks – my Twitter feed has been littered with lovely WIP photos and posts and I can’t WAIT to see some finished projects.  So please, do link up below and share your work!

For my ‘You Complete Me’ challenge, I decided to challenge myself with some new crafting ideas and creating something of a statement in my lounge.  These old chairs were given to us me by some relatives who had no use for them anymore.  Though they were specifically ‘conservatory chairs’, at the time I really liked the shape of them and the comfort too – plus the footstool would be a great added extra for lazy knitting evenings sat in front of the TV.  They did, however, need a lot of TLC and I thought our ‘You Complete Me’ challenge would be the perfect time for me to get to grips with covering them.

patchwork close upAs I’m in the midst of painting and DIY-ing my house at the mo, I decided to try and make this chair a real statement in my lounge.  I had already painted a red accent wall and decided to trawl through my fabric and see how little I could spend patchworking the chair.  I had a lot of teals, turquoises and blues, which I felt would blend in really well with the red.  To finish, I decided to contrast the footstool by knitting a stripy cover using the same colour palette.  This would blend in with the blue hues on my sofa cushions and I even have a couple of knitted squares, ready for a sofa throw in the same palette too.  What could go wrong, thought I?  Well, to be honest, I’ve never patchworked a thing in my life.

Being the renegade crafter that I am, I thought starting off with big patches measured, ironed and sewn into place, couldn’t be too difficult – luckily I possess a lot of the ‘how hard can it be’ attitude, so the effect is already really starting to look great on the chair.  Being quite the sewing novice still, I decided to sew each of the top cushion sections and leave an open end on both.  I’m toying with the idea of hand-sewing press studs to secure the cover in place, but it does seem to fold and sit quite nicely without, footstoolwhich I’ll be thankful for when it comes to washing the covers!  I’ll get there, just not this month.  I did have to purchase a little more fabric, but the total spend on this project was just £11.98 – though I should replace the foam at a later date too.

I’m planning to get this baby finished as soon as I can, then I’ll post some finished photos and updates on my new lounge.  It has been a great way of working with patchwork and I do feel I’ve created something really unique for my home too.  I think it has a charm to it, the not-so-perfect patches, there is something quite fairytale-cottagey about it, which I think I quite like!  Just nod and smile.

So what about you guys?  What have you been up to and DID you manage to complete this project on time??  Stay tuned, I’ll be setting up a #CraftBlogClub makes board on Pinterest to showcase our wonderful work!

armchair 1Stay Peachy x

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